23-Feb-2012 (Thu)
Wherein hammers are swingin’!

There has been actual construction work on the second floor of the pizza place! Well, "demolition" work, but that's close enough. Hammers were swung. Massive piles of junk were hauled out.

They've removed the interior walls from the back room. It's a really nice-sized space now! Too bad we're about to shrink it again by carving some bathrooms out of it. Photos:

I don't think I've mentioned what used to be up here before... apparently one of the previous tenants had, how shall I put this delicately, a "hydroponic garden" of some kind. There was a pair of rooms that you could only enter by climbing through a window that were covered, floor, walls and ceiling, with slick white plastic. It was creepy as hell, like a Dexter kill-room but less obsessively tidy:

I also don't think I've mentioned that we're getting a parklet! The location has been approved, and the next step is to get the Planning Department to sign off on our architectural drawings of it.

This is what's on the street now, spanning DNA Lounge and DNA Pizza:


And this is what it's going to turn in to:


The parklet will be about 30' wide, and have tables and a standing-height railing. In addition to that, we're getting rid of two car spots and adding a bunch of bicycle parking.

I wouldn't be foolish enough to make a guess as to when this will be finished, but so far the bureaucracy has been relatively minimal.

You know who has a puzzling internet footprint? Metal bands.

As you might expect, I have a bunch of feeds of searches for mentions of DNA Lounge. Normally this turns up the occasional article or mention of us or a band who is playing here. However, when we have an upcoming show by a metal band, the references go CRAZY. Apparently every metal fan in the world has a blog, and every one of them feels the need to post the entire worldwide tour schedule of every metal band that exists. It feels like the kind of copy-and-paste that you see from adword-farming spam-blogs, but I've looked at a few of them, and it seems not. I guess the metal fans are just obsessive enough that they all consider it front page news that a band they like is playing a show in a city that is six thousand miles away. (Some are reposting articles from other blogs, but mostly they appear to be real blogs.)

So I end up getting half a dozen notifications a day that look like this:

Hails and Horns - PAGANFEST AMERICA Part III to feature four ...
4/12 - Lubbock, TX @ Jake's 4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe ...

Turisas To Headline "Paganfest: America Part III" Tour | Heavy Metal ...
4/12 - Lubbock, TX @ Jake's 4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe ...

Apr. 05 - Oakland, CA @ The Pound (city and venue change, show now in San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge) Apr. 06 - Hollywood, CA @ House Of Blues Apr. 07 - Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater Apr. 09 - Denver, CO @ The Summit Music ...

SEPULTURA North American Tour: Schedule Updated
04/11/12 DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA - No DEATH ANGEL 04/12/12 Branx - Portland, OR 04/13/12 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA 04/14/12 In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT 04/15/12 Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO 04/16/12 Manny's ...

Se revelan las fechas de tour norteamericano de Sepultura, Death ...
Abr. 11 - DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA (Sin DEATH ANGEL) Abr. 12 - Branx - Portland, OR Abr. 13 - Studio Seven - Seattle, WA Abr. 14 - In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT Abr. 15 - Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO Abr. 16 - Manny's ...

rockcultural: Sepultura e Krisiun anunciam longa tour pela America ...
April 10 - Santa Ana, CA @Yost Theater April 11 - San Francisco, CA @DNA Lounge April 12 - Portland, OR @Branx April 13 - Seattle, WA @Studio Seven April 14 - Salt Lake City, UT @In The Venue April 15 - Denver, CO @Gothic Theater ...

Horns Up Rocks: TURISAS Are Gearing Up For "PaganFest ...
4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe, AZ @ 910 Live Related links: ...

HAVOK To Release EP Late May | Unhallowed Nation Magazine
4/11/2012 DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA. 4/12/2012 Branx - Portland, OR. 4/13/2012 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA. 4/14/2012 In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT. 4/15/2012 Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO. 4/16/2012 Manny's - Billings, MT ...

Fans of other genres don't do this. It's weird.

The other thing about metal bands: they still use Myspace.

As we get repeat visits from bands, DJs and other performers here, I update their URL links on our calendar, and there has been a steady progression of replacing their old Myspace URLs with new Facebook URLs. I don't think I've added a new Myspace URL to the calendar in five years -- except for metal bands, who are all still using Myspace. It's baffling.

I'm not seeking theories to explain this (I'm sure you have them), it's just a little internet-sociological oddity that I've noticed.

So, Free Coffee February is almost over, and has resulted in what can generously be described as a "smattering" of new customers. Not exactly the hockey-stick graph one dreams of.

I had a frustrating conversation the other day with someone whose company has for several years been in the office building on our block that is just past Slim's. Though he's a regular of DNA Lounge, and enjoys our pizza, he was somehow unaware that we were open in the morning, or that we have espresso. I asked him, "Have you even noticed that we have those A-frame signs on the corners hyping coffee?" He said, "Oh, I walk by that every day. I walk by and think, 'Oh, hey, DNA, I like those guys'. I've never actually read it, I guess!"

It was frustrating because here's a guy who is exactly our target market for the morning/lunchtime crowd, and we were completely failing to reach him with our message of, "Hey, we exist". I don't know why, and neither did he.

25 Responses:

  1. Laird Broadfield says:

    Most people are big bundles of habits. See the article referenced by that jwz guy in his post “Go ahead, be evil” for discussion of habit disruption and reformation.

  2. Lun Esex says:

    After high school I had a job at Tower Records (the big one that used to be in Mountain View), and I worked the BASS ticket counter. The worst people to deal with were the ones buying tickets to the Grateful Dead shows. Just one of the many anecdotes about this: You’d get some guy come in, wearing a suit, around noon-1:00pm. He’s obviously on his lunch break from working at the kind of job you have to wear a suit to work at in or near Mountain View. “Ah,” you’d think, “perhaps he wants some tickets to the symphony, or the opera, or maybe that Cirque du Soleil show that’s about to come through.” He walks up to the counter and suddenly his eyes glaze over and he gets a blank look on his face. It appears that he has now found it difficult to form complete sentences. He asks for Grateful Dead tickets. Not exactly in so many words. But you’ve figured it out by his blank stare and slack face as he’s suddenly “in the Dead zone,” flashing back to the haze of the previous Dead shows he’s not just SEEN, but *experienced*.

    My point: Perhaps it’s something similar to this. Maybe people see “DNA” in big block letters on black and green signs on 11th street and they just automatically think “nightclub,” and don’t even get to reading the “coffee,” “pizza,” “morning,” or whatever else is on the signs. Or maybe your A-frame signs don’t look anything like that and I’m completely wrong. Maybe they DO look more like the signs one might expect a coffee shop/cafe would put up, in cream white and brown, or with what looks like a blackboard surface with rounded hand lettering in multicolored chalk. With 3D perspective white china coffee cups on them, sitting on saucers, filled with dark brown coffee that has light grey steam rising from it.

    • Jamie Zawinski says:

      I enjoy your anecdote, but the next time someone says BUT BUT BUT GREEEEEN I’m going to beat them to death with the Starbucks logo.

      • Jeremy Wilson says:

        It’s not “green”, it’s “black and green industrial/goth club”.

      • 205guy says:

        Isn’t that, like, a different green? Plus they put it on a white background (and white paper cups). With your round logo, you should consider parodying it (and I specifically use the work parody for legal purposes).

        I also totally understand the habit thing and either not looking at advertising or not reading it (who knows, maybe it registers and I need adblock glasses). But essentially, I don’t want to read advertising online, in the city and in my life–even if it means free coffee (probably a gimmick in there somewhere).

        When I commuted to Soma by caltrain, and walked/biked to the office, the only new places I tried for lunch or coffee were those on my direct path. I specifically remember the A-sign sidewalk advert for Earthquake coffee by the Whole Foods where I sometimes shopped at lunch (I guess I did end up reading it), but never went there. And I do hate those sidewalk signs, so much visual noise and so many obstacles in the city already.

        The one time I tried a new place was when I found their coupon in our break room (waiting for my in-house coffee to brew). Break rooms are where employees have a bit of time to kill and are the most receptive. Beware however: the sandwhich place said it was an old coupon, didn’t honor it, I never went back, and I tossed their coupons in the recyling.

        So my suggestion would be: take your message directly to the businesses. Print a bunch of coupons with your name an location map, and knock on doors. Hopefully someone will open, take your coupons, put it in their break room, and people will see them. Or call up those businesses and offer to bring free coffee (in those disposable coffee boxes)–and coupons.

        Another factor might be how close the businesses are. Most people won’t walk more than 2 or 3 blocks (1 the long way) for coffee since they usually have some in the office too. I don’t remember too many offices in that area.

      • BrianBaresch says:

        But but but you’ve done well associating your logo and colors with “nightclub, music, dancing” and to some extent (so far) with “pizza”, but those those cultural phenomena don’t already have One Single Look (like the signage Lun Esex describes) closely associated with them. Cognitive psychology is only your friend if you work with it, not against it.

        You may believe the artsy A-frame sign is below your dignity, and I sure won’t argue. But if you don’t adopt it, you probably don’t have room to complain that people don’t know you serve the hipster elixir. I do think other untried avenues, like 205guy’s coupon idea, will bear the fruit you want. Just not as much as that stupid chalkboard sign.

      • 0x6772 says:

        Unfortunately… I have to agree with Mr. SX here: you may have to let go, slightly, of the impeccable aesthetic you’ve got for the club in order for people to come buy coffee from you.

        Have you looked at how places like Blue Bottle (whose location on Mint Sq is a BITCH to find if you’ve never been there before… unless you come at the popular times, when there’s a line around the building) originally got people to pay attention to them? Even if the end is “actually, we’re not doing anything wrong”, it’s worth taking a moment to do some research with the owners of other coffee shops.

  3. tjic says:

    > he was somehow unaware that we were open in the morning, or that we have espresso….I’ve never actually read it, I guess!”

    You’re coming dangerously close to morally justifying hiring someone to dress up in an ape costume, stand outside your site, and twirl a giant cardboard coffee cup for eight hours every day.

    I mean, it might work, right?

    • Stephen Thorne says:

      I would pay to see this made into a performance art piece: to see someone in an ape costume beaten bloody with his own sign would be magic.

    • node says:

      Even better: a too much coffee man constume!

    • 0x6772 says:

      Paging Dr. Monkey, Dr. Bacon Monkey…

  4. aczarnowski says:

    Is it just me or do most people really read their receipts? Can you print a splash in the middle of every receipt that says “THIS PLACE WILL MAKE YOUR MORNING BETTER TOO!” Would that implant some knowledge into your existing customers which might filter out into the world?

  5. Jered says:

    Were you ever able to determine why the pretentious coffee hipsters won’t sell to you? Does it have to do with an association with pizza instead of something more cultured, like crepes, or obscurely flavored donuts, or gourmet bugs, or whatever it is they eat in the Mission these days?

    I ask, because our local pretentious vegetarian fast food people went to visit all the major roasters and had the red carpet rolled out, and I can’t figure out what the difference is other than type of food: http://www.cloverfoodlab.com/?p=9428

    Maybe you need to publicly berate your employees for grinding your coffee wrong, so as to show your commitment to the cause: http://www.cloverfoodlab.com/?p=8973

  6. Todd Meister says:

    Regarding metal show reposts – I’ve noticed this, too. One contributing factor may be the number of people who fly cross country to see particular metal shows (though usually they are one-offs, not whole tours). It could also have to do with the prevalence of meth and coke in metal.

  7. DFB says:

    Short radio spots? “DNA Pizza serves coffee [24 hours | and breakfast] next to DNA Lounge, 11th Street by Harrison South of Market.” There is only one way to see if it’s worth it, but wait until your free coffee promotion is over to be able to estimate the cost/benefit with only one independent variable, of course.

  8. Jon Dowland says:

    I stumbled across someone’s myspace the other day and was pleasantly surprised, it seems to have *improved* slightly.

  9. This:

    I asked him, “Have you even noticed that we have those A-frame signs on the corners hyping coffee?” He said, “Oh, I walk by that every day. I walk by and think, ‘Oh, hey, DNA, I like those guys’. I’ve never actually read it, I guess!”

    It was frustrating because here’s a guy who is exactly our target market for the morning/lunchtime crowd, and we were completely failing to reach him with our message of, “Hey, we exist”. I don’t know why, and neither did he.

    is super irritating (the situation, I mean, not the guy, obviously). I wish I had a realistic suggestion. Loudspeakers, maybe?

    Um, and unrelatedly: “climing”?

  10. grombits says:

    > here’s a guy who is exactly our target market

    Are you advertising coffee, or are you advertising DNA Lounge/Pizza/Cafe/whatever wherever?

  11. Kyle Williamson says:

    Surely you’d want the parklet in front of the pizza place?

    • Jamie Zawinski says:

      Yes, that’s the plan.

      • Lun Esex says:

        But how will it affect the view of the pizza place from the Google Streetview car the next time it goes past?? ;)

        (At least it’ll keep a big truck from being parked there. Not that delivery trucks don’t always just double park, anyway.)

  12. Leonardo Herrera says:

    Re: Metal bands, they are the new classic rock. Sepultura is somewhat of a religion down here (Chile, Perú, Brazil.)

    I bet Frank Zappa would still be using Usenet.

  13. Miki Kadubec says:

    re: the metal references online… This is just a sign you need to book more metal bands so you can get more free press! :D (not commenting in self-interest at all, nope, not at all)